Two women were struck by a car whose driver sped through a protest-related closure on a freeway in Seattle, authorities said early Saturday. A 24-year-old woman from Seattle suffered critical, life-threatening injuries, and a 32-year-old woman from Bellingham had serious injuries, Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said. The driver, a 27-year-old man from Seattle, was in custody, Mead said, adding that impairment wasn't considered a factor. Charges remain under investigation, as does the motive and point of entry onto the interstate, but Mead said the unnamed man faced multiple felony charges and was suspected to have come the wrong way on a ramp. Mead said troopers didn't know whether it was a targeted attack, per the AP. Protesters were on the freeway for more than an hour before the car drove around the blockade around 1:30am, Mead said.
Video on social media showed a white Jaguar traveling at a high rate of speed navigate around two vehicles positioned across the lanes as a barrier. The car careened toward a small crowd of protesters on the freeway, striking two people who flew into the air before landing on the ground. Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests. Mead said that protesters had shut down the interstate for 19 days in a row. He emphasized that the freeway is "simply not a safe place" for pedestrians and that he hoped protesters would cease what he termed "unlawful behavior" in blocking the interstate. "My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple," Mead said.
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